Ooh la la: Owner Karen Morava describes Careful Peach, 1024 North Blvd., as a "miniature French department store."File 2011

Finally, a solution for shopping guilt.

One day a month at one Oak Park boutique, more spending equals more giving. To charity, that is.

Every fourth Thursday of the month, the Careful Peach on North Boulevard donates 15 percent of its total proceeds for the day to a different charity. American Rivers has already been a benefactor, as well as PAWS Chicago.

It began in May, to help out those who fell victim to the devastating tornado that rocked the Missouri town of Joplin.

“The owner, she’s from the South, where tornadoes are unfortunately very common,” said Jessie Austin, store manager at Careful Peach, about owner Karen Morava.

Inspired by other local businesses that rallied to raise money for the victims, the folks at Careful Peach decided to follow suit. “We just wanted to do something to hopefully help some people out if we could,” Austin said.

They chose the American Red Cross as the first benefactor, and at the end of the day, turned over 15 percent of the total sales to the organization providing aid for Joplin victims.

The idea stuck.

“It’s a different cause each month,” explained Austin. They are divided into three different categories: children-based organizations, animal-based organizations, and environmental organizations.

“We’re all big animal lovers here. We do a lot with the Animal Care League already,” Austin said. “And then the environment because we also focus on eco-friendly things wherever we can,” she said.

The employees at Careful Peach also decided to focus their efforts on local charities wherever possible, like Hephzibah Children’s Association, which they’ve worked with a great deal in the past. Hephzibah is scheduled to be the recipient of their payout this month.

“People are enthusiastic when they come in,” said Austin of customers who know about the donations. “Especially when people are buying things, they’re very enthusiastic about seeing some of [their money] going to do a little good somewhere.”

The store itself is described by Morava as a miniature French department store.

“We have a little bit of everything,” said Austin.

The inventory includes jewelry, bath and body supplies, table linens, home accessories, glasses and dishware, gift items, baby products, and much more. “We do have a focus on local artists wherever possible,” Austin said. “We also focus on things that are either made in France or Western Europe or things that are made here in the U.S.” And, of course, there are eco-friendly items available too.

Careful Peach does some promoting of its new recurring charity event, and tries to post the information on their Facebook and Twitter pages, local websites and in the store’s windows. American Rivers was organization chosen to benefit from the fourth-Thursday charity event for the month of June, after the Chicago River was named one of the most endangered in the nation. Austin said the national organization also helped publicize the date ahead of time.

“Especially with the local ones, but even with some of the national ones, they are able to help up promote it a little bit,” she said.

The 15 percent of sales applies to both in-store and online merchandise.

“Being a small business, there’s only so much that we can donate,” she said. The money doesn’t always amount to much, but Austin said every cent is appreciated.

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